Will The Freemium Model Work For Photoshop?

from the may-be-a-tough-call dept

Adobe made some news today by launching a free web-based low-end version of Adobe Photoshop. The idea is that Adobe hopes this will convince people to upgrade to the for-fee desktop software packages or (potentially) higher end online offerings from Adobe. This should be an interesting experiment for a variety of reasons. First, it definitely makes sense for Adobe to head down this path -- because if it didn't others would pop up and do the same (in fact there already are a few web-based Photoshop clones out there). So, joining this space earlier, rather than later, gives Adobe a chance to help define it, rather than be defined by it.

Adobe also has an advantage in the fact that it dominates this market. Even with free offerings like The Gimp out there, many graphic designers and photographers swear by the Photoshop interface and tools. The question, though, is how well this offering will be adopted. There are already some concerns about performance, which can matter a great deal when doing image editing. Furthermore, if this free online offering is there to serve as a way to push people to sign up for paid offerings, there will be pressures on the development team not to make the product as good as can be -- and that will keep open a wide opportunity for others to come in and provide a better product. No matter what, it's nice to see yet another large traditional client-side software provider experimenting with web-based offerings. Finally, simply porting a desktop software to the web isn't all that appealing. Services like Writely took off not because they were word processing clones (or free) but because they offered something useful that was different. In the case of Writely, it was the ability to do real-time collaboration over a document. So as long as Adobe focuses on creating those useful things that are different than what can be done on the desktop client, this could have some potential. But merely moving a feature-lacking version of a desktop client to the web probably isn't enough.

Filed Under: desktop software, freemium, online software, photoshop
Companies: adobe


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  1. identicon
    Reality Check, 28 Mar 2008 @ 6:18pm

    Re: Express

    "It's kinda cool for letting new users into the world of Photoshop. It's def not for pros to replace their expensive versions with. It's not as user friendly as Flickr and it's image editor, Picnik, are, but it does have some features Picnik does not have. The main drawback is that anything you post on there becomes the property of Adobe..."

    Exactly. That was the point I was making. If any of these other posters have actually ever used PS they would know that for novice photo editing folks, PS can be quite daunting and overwhelming - it is a very complex program for a reason - it allows you to do almost anything to anything.

    Look - Adobe stated they would be adding features. This version allows them to take the first step to making an online presence for PS. It wasnt expected to be the best thing since sliced bread. It was just to get them online.

    As for the argument about other programs - there are always going to be more than one type of program to choose from, whether its anti-virus, email, etc etc. Paint.net is a great program - whats your point? The packaged PS is 10x better.

    I bet most of you have never even used PS to its full potential have no idea what its capable of doing. Adobe isnt going to put their full version online for free - this version will satisfy most novice users right now and probably some immediate photo editors in the future. For those of us who do serious editing, we dont even look at free online or downloadable crap like paint.net - I'll hand over hundreds of dollars for the program I need.

    Different versions for different people with different abilities - I dont think you guys are grasping that concept.

    Anonymous Coward stated "...If you want to see what photoshop can do, hit the bay or check the usenet like everyone else that wants to give it a test spin. Or go get the edu version for $300."

    You are completely missing the point of this online version

    However, I will side with most of you around the TOS and giving up rights to your photos. As Chris said, the license WILL keep real photographers from using it.

    But then again, why would any of us who take photography seriously use anything but the packaged version?

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